People often consider taking their landlord to court, but when it comes down to action, not many follow through. The same can’t be said for one Nashville woman who, with the assistance of the Legal Aid Society, filed a lawsuit against landlord Larry Jordan, who she said had the electricity and water turned off, and threatened to remove the backdoor and physically remove her from the home, even though she was current on rent.
What caused this landlord meltdown? The landlord in question is Larry Jordan, who is also an Operations Manager of a local Little Caesars Pizza, where he employed the tenant for at least the past year. In October of 2017, the plaintiff (tenant) was violently attacked at her previous residence, and Larry Jordan, her employer, offered to let her stay at an Antioch home that he was hoping to renovate. The agreed upon terms were that she could stay free for the first month, due to the emergency circumstances, and after that she would pay rent and utilities, and some assistance with the renovations he intended to complete on the residence.
The two never formally agreed on an exact dollar price, as it was expected to fluctuate based on utilities, assistance, etc… instead, each time that the tenant would receive her twice-monthly paycheck from Little Caesars, where the landlord employed her, he would inform her of hose much she owed him from that check, which ranged from $300 to $550 from each twice-monthly paycheck, over the past year.
The tenant says that when she made her payment on August 17th, of $500, Larry Jordan told her she was paid up for the month, and her next payment would come from her September 14th check. All was well until she left her job at Little Caesars on September 3rd. On the following day, she received a text message from her landlord and now former employer, Larry Jordan, telling her that she had to move out of the house by the end of the day, with no further explanation. Of course, that is not how evictions work in Tennessee, and especially not in an area covered by the Uniform Residential Landlord Tenant Act, such as Nashville Metro.
Two days after leaving her landlord’s employment, the tenant found that her electricity was turned off at the home, of which she was still living in, and was current on rent. She says that Jordan told her that if she failed to vacate voluntarily, he, or someone else at his direction, would remove the back door to the home and physically remove her from the premises. At that time, she sought help from the Legal Aid Society in the matter. A lawyer from LAS contacted Larry Jordan to explain how his actions and threats were illegal, and he would have to restore power, and go through the formal eviction process. He refused to cooperate.
The following day, September 6th, Larry Jordan had the water service to the property turned off. She says Jordan then called her, to mock her having to live there in the dark, knowing about her PTSD from the violent attack in her previous apartment. She had to remove her self from the home, with no electricity or water, and has since lived with friends, her car, or the occasional hotel when it’s financially feasible to do so.
The Legal Aid Society sent multiple demands to Larry Jordan, including on September 6th, and on September 11th. On September 16th, it was found that water service had been restored to the property, however she says the threats of physical removal from the home continued from both Larry Jordan, and others directed by him, including threats of retaliation if she proceeded with any legal action against him.
On Thursday afternoon, a Nashville judge signed a retraining order, restraining Larry Jordan from continuing to provide essential services to his tenant, directing him to restore services to the property immediately.
At time of publication, services had still not been restored, and Jordan had still not filed the proper paperwork for an eviction process to even begin. In Tennessee, TCA 66.28.504 provides for both actual and punitive damages from the landlord, and the court could also hold him in contempt if he refuses to comply with the restraining order. A hearing on the matter is set for Friday.